Friday, August 31, 2012

Crop Report

So I was out in the garden, turning the compost (don't ask) and gathering the last of the raspberries (raspberries give a "second sitting" of crop ... so now these fresh ones will be added to the earlier batch that are sitting in the freezer, and I can get going on the jam!) anyway I turned my attention to the potatoes, some of which needed hilling up ... and then, I spotted this:

Note: this is not a tomato.  This bunch of fruit is actually growing from a potato plant.  For comparison purposes, here is a tomato plant:

See the completely different leaf shape?  

So the question remains ... what exactly is growing in the potato patch?  There were no tomatoes planted there.  The soil was thoroughly tilled before the potatoes were planted.  The plant this fruit is growing from has potato leaves, not tomato leaves.  So what is it?  A pomato?  Watch this space.

Anyway, the garden is coming up like crazy, despite the extremely hot and dry summer.  We've got pole beans:

We've got peas and carrots:

And as you've no doubt gathered, we've got tomatoes:

And the corn is as high as ... well, maybe not an elephant's eye, but it's as high as my eye, and that's good enough for me:

Oh, and finally, anyone for squash? 

No, seriously ... someone come and take this squash away.  Please!

This week we're finally getting some rain.  It's sorely needed for the creeks are bone dry.  The apples and grapes seem to be growing regardless, but I'm sure they could do with a drink.  Speaking of fruit: I was walking past the old pear tree this afternoon and it's actually put out a few pears!  Just four ... so I picked them all.  Here's the evidence:

Not in the greatest of shape, but I'm sure I can make something out of them.  Hmmm ... pear and raspberry jam ... ?

In the meantime, if anyone has any clues about that mutant potato/tomato plant ... let me know!  

EDIT: The mystery fruit turns out to be the fruit of the potato plant ... yes, it actually bears fruit from time to time ... you can save the seeds and propagate your own potato variety!  Who knew!  :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Here there be dragons

Hi everyone, wow, what a month!  It's nothing short of amazing that we've come out the other end still standing and (relatively) sane!

It all started when our two kids and five of their friends, plus our daughter's dog, descended on us.  They had decided to make it a road trip, and drove all the way from southern Ontario to Cape Breton in two days!  I had been by myself for the previous three weeks (with Molly of course) and it was a bit of an adjustment to suddenly have the house full of excited, energetic twentysomethings, not to mention the extra dog.  By the time I met Paul at the airport I think I had a few more grey hairs.

And of course poor Paul, coming off a 3 week tour of work, the first thing he had to do when he got back was fix the well pump, and relocate the gravity feed line as the creek had gone dry!  Then, it was full speed ahead to get the wash cabin finished and operational in time for Avalon Gathering!  Oh, and did I mention we also had our volunteers arriving on the Friday from Utah!

So I went and picked up Hannah and Jacob from Baddeck on Friday morning.  They were a very sweet pair of newlyweds, and I warned them that they would be thrown in at the deep end.  Work continued on the wash cabin, parking signs, gravel walkways and a million other things pretty much until 9 am Saturday, when people started to arrive.

I don't think I've ever been as hot as I was on that Saturday.  I very rarely wear skirts or dresses, let alone a long skirt with a bustier!  I can't imagine how women in the medieval era got anything done, having to hike all that fabric around all the time!  Anyway somehow, everything got done, the vendors got set up, and people started to arrive.  As seems to be normal for Cape Breton, people arrived on their own schedule, and everything got started late, but the weather was glorious and everyone seemed to have a great time.  There were some wonderful costumes, too.  All the photos I took can be seen here:  but here are a few selected pics:

Robyn Archery

The archery was very popular.  This young lady certainly looks the part!

Reinhard Display

A display of medieval helmets, swords and a rather nice looking drinking horn!


It's always fun to play with swords ... even when they're made of wood!


A work of art by one of our vendors, Liam Tromans of Woodswork Art.  All done with a chainsaw!


A gypsy with a painted tummy.


Reinhard and Cathy, who ran the archery range.  It was great to see so many wonderful costumes.


Of course, Molly has to get in the picture!  Here she is with Paul.


Another beautifully costumed lady.


The dragon that Liam carved for us.


It was great fun making banners for the Gathering.  This one represents Glastonbury Tor.


Another banner, this time representing Stonehenge.


A lovely young lady in a costume she made herself.


Liam Tromans carving our dragon.


Fin MacDonald, blacksmith, brought his portable forge and gave a demonstration of his trade. Here he is showing a guest (Brian Dean) how to work the iron.


It was not only the ladies who had great costumes!


If you get put in the stocks, you just have to man up and take the punishment - in water balloons.


A very pretty fairy by the name of Morgaine.

As you can see, a good time was had by all.  We'll be doing it again next year, and this time it will be bigger and better!  We learned a lot, and of course there are a number of things we'll do differently, but in general I think it was a great success.  A very big Thank You to everyone who attended, and we look forward to making Avalon Gathering a regular annual event here in the Cape Breton Highlands.

I'll update again soon!